The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has a new president. He is 48-year-old Senior Partner and Head of the Corporate & Commercial Practice Group at Templers, a Lagos-based law firm, Olumide Akpata.
In a keenly contested election amongst three heavy weights, two of them Senior Advocates, Olumide, the youngest and the only non-SAN amongst the three, according to the Chief Tawo Tawo-led Electoral Committee polled 9,891 votes to defeat the first runner-up, Dr. Babajide Ajibade, SAN who polled pooled 4,328 votes. The third candidate, Dele Adesina came a distant third by polling 3,982 votes. Statistically, Olumide’s election was validated by 54.3% of the votes cast. Although a total of 29,636 lawyers across the country were accredited to vote, only 18,256 eventually succeeded in voting on the electronic platform set up by the association. This translates to 61.59%.
In his post-election message, Olumide promised to make NBA worked for all lawyers and the society at large. “Yesterday, we made history and today, i want to thank each and everyone of you who supported me and who was part of this process. I want to salute my entire team who worked tirelessly to make this a reality, sacrificing precious time to deliver our mandate”, he said, adding that he will make the Bar work for all.
Meanwhile, one of the contestants, Dele Adesina has faulted the process that threw up the election of Akpata, describing it a sham and called for its cancellation. In the petition addressed to the Electoral Committee chairman and personally signed by him, he alleged that the voter register used for the election contained “grave errors” which violated the provisions of the NBA constitution.
“I called on you, Mr Chairman and members of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association to cancel this sham Election. It’s needless to say that is the process is bad, the product cannot be good. Thank you”, he said.
Meanwhile, congratulatory messages have continued to pour in over the election of Akpata. Godwin Obaseki, the Edo State governor praised his election describing it as “Congratulations to @olumideAkpata on his emergence as President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He brings with him years of enviable success as a distinguished lawyer and is sure to steer NBA to glorious heights. Congratulations, once more!”, he tweeted.
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